ISU Track & Field Ready for 2013 MVC Indoor Championships
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Feb. 22, 2013
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - After a two-month indoor season, the Illinois State men's and women's track & field teams head to Cedar Falls, Iowa, for the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships, hosted by Northern Iowa. The meet begins Saturday and runs through Sunday. The meet starts both days at 9:30 a.m., with the multi-events.
The women's squad enters the meet with a pre-championship ranking of No. 3 behind Indiana State (2) and Wichita State (1). The men's team earned a pre-championship ranking of sixth, as that is what they finished last year at the indoor meet. The Redbirds have never won a title on the track under 13th-year head coach Elvis Forde, as they attempt for their first this weekend. The closest either team has come to a championships under his direction was in 2004, when the men's team finished second to Northern Iowa, 146-137.
After scoring a combined 69 points at the 2012 Valley indoor championships and winning back-to-back MVC titles in cross country, the women's distance crew continues the high standard set a year ago, as they hold five of 12 top-three spots in the Valley in the distance events. Kristen Zillmer holds the No. 2 spot in the 800-meter run (2:10.82) and the No. 3 spot in the mile (4:53.42). Rachael Brewer holds the No. 2 spot in the mile (4:53.06) and the 3,000- (9:39.81) and 5,000-meter runs (16:41.14), respectively. Kelly McShea also holds a top-five ranking in each of the three events and will be among three who will triple at the championships, with Brewer and Kim Christensen.
The distance crew has also managed to put together one of the top distance medley relay teams in the Valley, as the women hold the top mark by over 20 seconds, after breaking the ISU school record in the event at the Meyo Invitational (Feb. 2). The squad has won four titles in the event since assistant track & field coach Jeff Bovee took over the distance reins, including the last three from 2010-12.
In the throws, Brittany Smith will show why she is one of the top throwers in the nation, as she takes on another nationally acclaimed thrower in that of Felisha Johnson of Indiana State. Over the past four years, the Valley has had the opportunity to see these two square-off against one another at the championships. This will be the final time during the indoor campaign the two will meet at the conference championships, with Smith holding the head-to-head match-up against Johnson, winning all three shot put match-ups and one-of-three match-ups in the weight throw.
The sprints will see Sade Sealy attempts to win her fourth-consecutive title in the 400-meter dash, as she has won six-consecutive titles throughout her tenure at Illinois State between both the indoor and outdoor seasons. If she were to win the title against this weekend, she would be only the second person to win it four-consecutive years, with the other being Chesea Gibson from Missouri State (2001-04).
On the men's side, junior Coty Kramer is the only returning All-Valley performer from a year ago, as he looks to lead a relatively young squad at the championships this weekend. The men's side will see seven freshmen and nine sophomores head to the start in their respective events. Kramer holds the No. 3 spot in the Valley in the 400-meter dash with a time of 48.64. Freshman Antonio Farley holds the No. 6 spot with a time of 48.96.
The men's distance will see Tyler Morse in the mile and 3,000-meter run, where he ranks tenth in both events with times of 4:13.69 and 8:27.66, respectively. Ryan Rutherford and Sean Senf will hold their own in the 5,000-meter run, as they rank fifth (14:48.67) and sixth (14:48.83) in the event. The only other top-10 Valley performers this season on the men's side is Thomas Jean and Kevin Fisch. Jean holds the No. 6 spot in the pole vault, while Fisch holds the No. 7 spot in the pole vault and ranks 10th in the heptathlon.
Those wishing to follow the Redbirds this weekend can do so on GoRedbirds.com on the championships central page or on Twitter via @ISU_Track_XC.
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